First Detroit, then on to school in Ann Arbor. She belongs to a local book group, going strong since 1994. Cathy tells me they read literary fiction, some nonfiction, but pick at least one classic to read together each year. Here, then, from her group's 2011-2012 reading list are books she recommends (or not!).
“My favorite book was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by UCI MFA grad Aimee Bender. I loved this novel because it evoked the process by which a family loses an adult child in a personal, idiosyncratic, and yet universal way. We meet the heroine and narrator of the story as a child of six when she discovers that she can taste the emotions of those who prepare the food she eats and, because of this unique ability, realizes that her mother is having an affair. We also follow her relationship with her distant and troubled older brother who, even more, I think, than the stresses in the parents' marriage, comes to represent how we lose, but still manage to hang on to those we love. This is a theme with great depth of meaning for me, having suffered the loss of my own beloved son four years ago when he was 27. I loved the way the narrator was able to “hold on to” her brother after he disappeared entirely from earthly existence.
“In passing, from this year's reading, I would recommend A Perfect Spy by John LeCarre; Just Kids, Patti Smith's memoir of her early relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe; Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore; Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (another UCI MFA graduate) and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.”